Monday, August 31, 2020

This Day in Bovina for August 2020

200 years ago today, on August 1, 1820, John Marshall McNaught is born in Bovina, the son of Malcolm McNaught and Margery Jones. He married Susan Campbell of Andes and died in 1865. He and Susan had four children.

113 years ago today, the August 2, 1907 Brooklyn Citizen, in its summer resort directory included this entry for Mountainside View Farm House. This is now the Ed and Donna Weber farm.


Two hundred years ago today, August 3, 1820, this receipt was issued for $2.25 for payment from the town supervisor to the poor master, David Thomson.

Forty-four years ago today, the Bovina column in the August 4, 1976 issue of the Stamford Mirror Recorder, this correction was noted: "It was mistakenly reported last week that the town girls won the tug of war at the Bicentennial celebration It has since been reported that that was not the case, and the out -of-towners actually won!"


Twenty-five years ago today, on August 5, 1995, Bovina celebrated its 175th birthday. I've uploaded pictures from the day on my Flickr account. If you have any additional information about the pictures, please note that in the comments. I'm also always looking for more photographs.


131 years ago today, the August 6, 1889 Stamford Mirror carried this report on two people injured in falls: 

130 years ago today, on August 7, 1890, the Delaware Republican reported that, "We had a pleasant call from John Hilson, of Brushland… He looks as if the improvement received from his last year's trip to his native land still continues and he is hoping to see auld Scotia again another season. His descriptions of the scenes there and especially his experiences with their barbers at a penny a shave are graphic, and the latter amusing to all, except the ones who fell into the barber's hands."


Eighty years ago today, on August 8, 1940, the Bovina column of the Delaware Republican reported that "Miss Catherine Hastings of Amsterdam, N.Y., is visiting her uncle, Milton Hastings." The same column also noted that "Mrs. James Coulter of New Wilmington, Pa., is spending some time at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Cecil Russell."


139 years ago today, the August 9, 1881 issue of the Stamford Mirror carried this small Brushland column. Old Mr. Dickson probably was Gilbert Dickson, though I can't track down when he died.

220 years ago today, on August 10, 1800, Elizabeth Coulter was born, the daughter of Francis and Nancy (Glendenning) Coulter. It is not clear whether she was born in Scotland or in Delaware County. Elizabeth died in June 1847 and is buried in the Associate Presbyterian Church cemetery at Reinertsen Hill Road in Bovina.


128  years ago today, the brief Bovina column of the August 11, 1892 Delaware Republican reported "98 in the shade last Tuesday."


130 years ago today, the August 12, 1890 Hobart Independent reported that "Bovina Cows Go West." The article went on to say: "Four fine cows have been shipped by Wm. L. Ruff of Bovina, to Dillworth Bros., of Spokane, Wash. Valencey E. Fuller, vice-president of the American Jersey Cattle Club and an expert judge of the famous race of butter-makers, was engaged to make the selection for the western men. He selected Rose of Bovina, Ida’s Gray Belle of Bovina, Ida's Jane Eyre of Bovina, and Ida’s Little Gray Belle of Bovina. Mr. Ruff received $450 for the four Jerseys. The Ruff farm is now the Weber farm on Crescent Valley Road.


Sixty eight years ago today, on August 13, 1952, as later reported in the Catskill Mountain News, "Forty-eight descendants of Francis and Nancy Coulter held their 30th reunion at the Fish and Game clubhouse on Wednesday….A picnic lunch was enjoyed by all. The president, William Cash, of Delhi presided. The following officers were elected for the coming year: Myron Coulter of Walton, president; Robert Hall of Bovina, vice-president; Mrs. David Roberts, secretary-treasurer; Mrs. Myron Coulter, dinner committee chairman." The Fish and Game club was on Coulter Brook and was where Francis and Nancy Coulter settled in Bovina around 1802.


117 years ago today, the Bovina column in the August 14, 1903 Catskill Mountain News reported that "Mr. David Draffin is the first to finish haying in this locality and he reports a good crop. David is a hustler." The same column reported that "William B. Thompson is busy harvesting a large crop of oats.


Forty-seven years ago today, the Bovina column of the August 15, 1973 Stamford Mirror Recorder included the following item: "Canvassers will be visiting homes from Aug. 15 - 22 to ask for donations for our annual Bovina library tag day. Solicitors have been assigned for all areas. The funds from tag day are used for maintenance of the library so welcome your neighbor when she calls."


200 years ago today, August 16, 1820, Thomas Miller was born, the son of David Miller and Agnes Thomson in Bovina. He died May 4, 1863 and is buried in the Bovina Cemetery.


Forty-three years ago today, the Bovina column of the August 17, 1977 Stamford Mirror Recorded included this item: "Mrs. Norma Gabriel, Bovina town clerk, reports that big game licenses and party permits are now available through the town clerk's office. Party permits must be postmarked no later than Sept 12."


146 years ago today, on August 18, 1874, Frederick McFarland was married to Phebe A. Reynolds in the Town of Middletown. They were married by Rev. J.D. Hubble. The marriage ended in 1889 with Frederick's suicide. His wife died two years later. More about Frederick is at the Bovina NY History blog at


Fifty-five years ago today, the Bovina column of the August 19, 1965 Delaware Republican-Express reported that "Mrs. Sophia Reinertsen, accompanied her son and daughter-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Walter Reinertsen, to Missouri, and Madison, Wisconsin, where they are visiting relatives of the family."


105 years ago today, August 20, 1915, David Low Thompson died in Oneonta. He was 84 years of age. More about Thompson's life is on my blog at


132 years ago today, the August 21, 1888 Stamford Mirror reported in its Bovina column that "The friends of Ed O. Hanlon were much alarmed, a few days ago, by the report that he had suddenly died at Delhi, while having some decayed teeth extracted. Happily the report proved untrue. Ed says he knew it was a lie as soon as he heard it."


108 years ago today, on August 22, 1912, Therese "Que" Aitken was born, the daughter of John Bauer and Frances Deitz. She married Floyd "Steve" Aitkens and was widowed in 1982. She died in February 2003 at the age of 90. These photos of Que and Steve were taken by Bob Wyer in May 1947.

138 years ago today, on August 23, 1882, as later reported in the Delaware Gazette, "Mrs. Peter Calhoun, the mother of Dr. Calhoun, of this village [Delhi], died at her residence in Bovina, Aug. 23. Mrs. Calhoun was born in the year 1799, in the Parish of Luss, Dumbarton Shire, Scotland. She came to America in 1834, and settled in Bovina in 1835, where she resided until her death. In 1835 she united with the Presbyterian church in Andes, of which she was a faithful and consistent member during her life. She was a kind and loving mother, a faithful wife, and a much esteemed neighbor."


Eighty-one years ago today, on August 24, 1939, the "Bovina Centre" column of the Delaware Republican reported that "Mr. and Mrs. Jack Myers, Mrs. Anna Thompson and Ledger Myers of Binghamton visited Mr. and Mrs. Alex Myers over the weekend."


100 years ago today, the Brookfield (NY) Courier in its August 25, 1920 issue reported under County and State News Paragraphs on an illness impacting Bovina's dairy cows: "Several cows in Bovina dairies recently attracted attention by giving small messes of milk, and the suspicion of trouble was intensified when the next morning about thirty cows in the dairy of Mrs. Kate Barnhart were very ill, several of them being unable to rise, and one dying during the day. Inspection by Drs. Irvine and Wheeler developed that some powerful physic had been eaten by the animals. Wednesday most of the cows were on their feet again, and suspicion being directed to feed which all had eaten, the stomach of the dead cow and some of the grain were sent to the state agricultural college for analysis."


Seventy-seven years ago today, the Lake Delaware column in the August 26, 1943 Delaware Republican included this item: "The boys at Lake Delaware Boys' camp will return to New York this week. On Sunday the boy's choir from the camp sang at the service in St. James' Chapel."


118 years ago today, on the evening of August 27, 1902, Margaret H. Sloane was married to James M. Gladstone at the home of her sister and brother-in-law, William and Clara Doig. The couple started their family in New York but at sometime before 1910, they moved west, settling in Denver, Colorado. James was a furniture salesman for thirty years. He died in 1937 at the age of 61 after a brief illness.  Margaret died sometime after 1940. 


Ninety-six years ago today, on August 28, 1924, the Bovina annual town picnic took place. As later reported in the Andes Recorder, "The Delhi band furnished the music."


Fifty years ago today, on August 29, 1970, the town of Bovina celebrated its Sesquicentennial - the 150th Anniversary of its founding. Here's an album on my Flickr page of pictures from the celebration:


139 years ago today, the August 30, 1881 Stamford Mirror reported in its Bovina column that "There are a number of severe cases of sickness in town at present. Mrs. Orr, [Mrs.] Sloan and Mrs. Ira Worden are considered most critical." Though not clear, Mrs. Sloan may have been Sarah Collins Sloan, who died September 15, 1881 at the age of 78. Mrs. Worden survived this illness but died in 1888 when she was 44 years old.


Seventy-six years ago today, the Bovina column of the August 31, 1944 Delaware Republican Express reported that "Mrs. Sarah Archibald has gone to New York City for treatment for her eye. Her daughter, Mrs. Charles Lethenburg (sic), came for her on Friday." Her daughter was Mrs. Lichtenburg."



Saturday, August 29, 2020

Bovina's Sesquicentennial - 1970

Fifty years ago today, the Town of Bovina celebrated it's Sesquicentennial. From all information I can find, this was the first time the Town of Bovina had celebrated a milestone anniversary. There is no evidence of a town centennial celebration in 1920. Interestingly, the Bovina UP Church did celebrate such anniversaries since its centennial in 1909, including 125th, 150th, 175th and its Bicentennial in 2009.

Here's a newspaper ad for the day's celebration.

And some of the pictures I have collected from this celebration are on the Bovina NY History Flickr page at:

If you have pictures from this celebration I'd love to get scans or copies of them. 

Monday, August 17, 2020

1820 Federal Census: Bovina's first census

The 1820 Federal Census, the fourth federal census, was taken in August 1820, when the Town of Bovina was barely six months old. The population of Bovina in that census was 1267. The population of the United States that year was 9,638,453, which included over 1.5 million slaves. One of those slaves was in Bovina, owned by Alexander Johnson. He’s the only slaveowner in Bovina’s history. Delaware County’s population that year was 26,587, of whom 56 were slaves. Bovina had one “free colored person,” a female under the age of fourteen (the county had 84).

The 1820 census did not list every person. It only listed the head of the household then numbers in that household (the census didn’t record every name until 1850).

The Official census report from Congress provided these statistics of Bovina’s population:

  • Free White Males under ten years – 235
  • Free white males of ten and under sixteen – 106
  • Free white males between sixteen and eighteen – 26
  • Free white males of sixteen and under twenty-six including heads of families – 114
  • Free white males of twenty-six and under forty-five including heads of families – 107
  • Free white males of forty-five and upwards including heads of families – 89
  • Free White females under ten years - 211
  • Free white females of ten and under sixteen - 104
  • Free white females of sixteen and under twenty-six including heads of families – 119
  • Free white females of twenty-six and under forty-five including heads of families – 100
  • Free white females of forty-five and upwards including heads of families – 80
  • Foreigners not naturalized – 141
  • Number of persons engaged in Agriculture – 294
  • Number of persons engaged in Commerce – 0
  • Number of persons engaged in Manufacturer – 24
  • Slaves males fourteen and under twenty-six – 1
  • Free colored persons, females under fourteen years – 1

Monday, August 10, 2020

August 1920 - 100 Years Ago "in that Thriving Town"

In August 1920, Bovina saw several cows sicken (with one death), a Coulter Family Reunion and the birth of a noted Bovina citizen. Here's how it was reported in the Andes Recorder:

August 6, 1920
A.M.Redmond, of Arena, has moved into Mr. Mitchell’s tenant house.
Alva Shultis has purchased a new auto truck.  The price is reported at $3,200.
Millard Gow, who is employed in New York, has been visiting his people here.  He was accompanied by a friend.
Harry Robinson is moving into the John R. Hoy house, which he recently purchased of Harry Martin, who moved Saturday to Charlotteville.
William Johnson, of Kansas, is visiting his sister, Mrs. Alex Crosier.  He went west 14 years ago and is now employed by an oil company.
G.D. Miller had the second and third fingers of his left hand severely injured last Thursday, while handling some timbers from the old Stott cooper shop.

August 13, 1920
A son was born to Mr. and Mrs. John H. Hilson, August 5.  Miss Delamater is the nurse. [This is Jack Hilson, later a noted Bovina merchant as half of Hilson Brothers.]
Alva Shultis moved this week from the Jennie Miller place below the Center, to Delhi, where he has a job of hauling lumber.
On Monday evening a meeting was held at the Fire House to make arrangements for the annual Town Picnic, to be held Thursday August 26.
Lauren Dickson and William Gordon arrived home Tuesday after an absence of about a month.  During their absence they visited New York, points in the New England States, Montreal, Canada, etc.

August 20, 1920
Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Davidson and Mr. and Mrs. Fred Thomson attended the Davidson reunion held on Saturday on Platner Brook.
Elliott Thomson has rented his blacksmith shop to Mr. Morrison, of Charlotteville, who will begin operations Monday.  He is also a wood worker.  He has rented W.A. Hoy’s tenant house and will move his family here about October 1st.

Bovina Cows Poisoned
A number of cows in Bovina have been sick and Mrs. Kate Barnhart had one die.  Veterinaries diagnosed the trouble as poisoning.  It is supposed that the trouble came from something in a “balanced ration” which was being fed in the dairies affected.  

Coulter Reunion
Will be held Wednesday, August 25, at Grant Maxwell’s on the Little Delaware.  Please bring cup, fork, spoon and sandwiches for family; also one other article.

August 27, 1920
Douglas Burns is preparing to put concrete stables in his barn.
David F. Hoy, registrar of Cornell University, with his wife have been with Bovina relatives the past week.
R. Eston Phyfe, a native of this town, for many years principal of the Hartford, Connecticut, high school, has been visiting his brother, A.B. Phyfe.
Mrs. (Dr.) Trader, who is herself a physician, with her daughter, is visiting her father, Jas W. Thomson.  She and her husband are at the Craig Colony, located at Sonyea, N.Y.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Bovina Celebrates Its 175th Birthday

On Saturday, August 5, 1995, the Town of Bovina spent the day celebrating its 175th birthday. Here was some of the activities from that day.

And since a picture is worth a thousand words, I have posted a number of pictures from that day on the Bovina NY History Flickr page at

Enjoy. And hopefully, we'll have our delayed Bicentennial celebration in just under a year, July 31/August 1, 2021.

Monday, August 3, 2020

Baseball in Bovina

This is a slightly revised version of the talk I gave on August 1, 2020 at the inaugural ball game at the new Creamery Field, created by the Livestock Foundation. Thank you to John ‘Chico’ Finn and Wendy Buerge for inviting me to say a few words. I’ve added a couple of items that I did not include in my talk in the interest of brevity.

So, a brief history of baseball. Does anyone still think it was invented by Abner Doubleday in 1839 in Cooperstown?

I hope not. This definitely is a legend. Baseball appears to have evolved since at least the mid-18th century. The earliest newspaper reference to baseball in the U.S. came 14 years before the reputed Doubleday date. In 1825, a newspaper reported a town issuing a challenge for a game of baseball. And the town is Hamden, NY. The Delaware Gazette posted the following: “The undersigned‚ all residents of the new town of Hamden‚ … challenge an equal number of persons of any town in the County of Delaware‚ to meet them at any time at the house of Edward B. Chace‚ in said town‚ to play the game of Bass-Ball‚ for the sum of one dollar each per game."

References to baseball in the area don’t start showing up with any regularity until the 1860s, but the earliest known reference that has been found to date comes from our county.


In August 1866, the Delaware gazette gave its impression of baseball:


As this is the popular game just now, we give below the directions for playing the game. They are very simple:

·         The game is a great invention. It is easily understood. All you have to do is to keep your eye on the ball.

·         It is all about a ball.

·         They also use a bat. The bat is a club built on the model of the club Barnum killed Capt. Cook with.

·         This is the reason the organization is called a club.

·         One fellow takes a club and stands on a line, and another stands in front of him and fires a ball at him.

·         The chap with the club hits back.

·         The ball flies in another direction.

·         The first fellow drops the club as though he was scared and runs like a pickpocket with an M.I. after him.

·         Several fellows run after the ball; somebody catches it and fires it at somebody else, when the chap who had the club stops running.

·         Another fellow then takes the club and the same man who is called “pitcher,” pitches on him, first the ball at him, and he hits back, knocks the ball, drops his club, and cuts his stick for the first base.

·         Half a dozen fellows out on picket duty scramble for the ball.

·         When one side goes out the other goes in, and when both sides are out, it is called innings.

·         It is quite an intelligent game, depending upon the use of your legs. The first principle of the game is running.

·         When you are ‘In,” you run away from the ball; when you are “out,” you run after it.


Apparently, there were some quarters that had concerns about baseball, though it seems it was a small minority. The Delaware gazette, in its November 07, 1866 issue reported this little item:  


Immorality of Base Ball Playing — At the recent Sabbath School Convention one reverend delegate spoke strongly against the awful practice of playing ball. He saw nothing but ruin to young men who engaged in the practice. We hardly think he obtained the sympathy of half a-dozen delegates. Certain it is that this enemy of base ball was most completely snuffed out in the evening by Rev. Mr. Scoville, of Norwich, Chenango county. He not only defended the lovers of the game but declared himself one of its votaries. Speaking of playing, he said: “I regret that I cannot remain longer in the Convention, but our club and the Hill boys have a match game on the tapis, and I must go. We licked those Hill boys once, and thank the Lord, we can do it again.”


The earliest newspaper reference to a baseball team in Bovina comes from the May 29, 1872 Delaware Gazette: “It is reported among the boys that a match game of base ball will be played upon the Fair Grounds, in Delhi between a picked nine from Bovina and the River boys of Delhi.”


By the next month, Bovina had a club, the Highlander Base Ball Club. The papers reported at least two games, one involving a club from Delhi and another the Delaware Valley Base Ball Club from Bloomville. The latter was held in Bovina and was a high scoring tie game. 58 runs for each team. The article concluded “Owing to the late commencement of the game, the ninth inning was not out till the hour was so late it was deemed imprudent to play another to decide the game.”

In October 1885, the Delaware Gazette reported on a three-game series between Hamden and Bovina. The game at Hamden was won by the Hamden club, and the one at Lake Delaware by the Bovina club. During this second game a Hamden player had his finger put out of joint by a ball. The paper noted that “As they are quite evenly matched the [final] game will be watched with interest.” Unfortunately, not with enough interest to report the result.

Some games weren’t so authorized and were more impromptu. In October 1894 the Andes Recorder reported that “On a Sabbath not long ago a party from [Bovina] went up on the Indian rock to enjoy a game of ball. How the game succeeded we do not know, but such actions as this should be stopped immediately.”

The following year, Bovina’s team went to Delhi for an injury plagued game that the local paper called ‘exciting.’ The paper reported that Chan Squires and Leonard Thomson collided while running to catch a fly and were badly cut about the face.  Thomson’s cheek was cut so that the services of a physician was required to sew it up and while the doctor was at work dressing the wound John L. Gordon and Andrew Seacord both fainted.  Al Thomson fell on his arm and injured it so that he was disabled. And sadly, Bovina lost this match.

While the teams tended to be male, girls in the late 19th century played as teams in the local schools. In the fall of 1895, the school boys played against the school girls. And the girls won, 32 to 27.

Organized baseball in Bovina continued for about a decade or so into the 20th century, more and more tied to the schools. In 1903, a local paper reported that “The Hobart High School base ball team went to Bovina Saturday and crossed bats with the Bovina school team. The butter eaters won easily. The score was 15 to 11.”

In June 1913, Bovina went to Margaretville for a game and lost 13 to 7. The game was called in 8th to allow the Bovina team members to catch the train for home.

From about 1920 on, Bovina did not have any kind or organized team or club, though the game continued to be played at town picnics. The town picnic in 1918 included a game between single and married men, with Lester Hoy serving as captain of the single men and Harry Robinson for the married men. The married men showed their supremacy on the ball field, beating the single men 16 to 10.

In 1926, the town picnic included a ladies baseball game between the Bovina Center and Upper Bovina ladies, with the latter having the upper hand (no pun intended).

I could find no reports of baseball games in Bovina through much of the mid-20th century, though I’m sure impromptu games continued. On June 14, 1970, there was a community baseball game, held next to what is now the library. I know this date because this is the first entry ever in my diary of 50 years. I noted that “Our team won but I didn’t help with the victory.”

Accept for games like these played on occasion, Bovina had no official baseball team until 2009, when Harlo Bray organized the Bovina Dairymen. Their first game in Bovina came in July 2009.

This early entry from August 2009 reported on the Bovina Dairymen’s first game in Bovina, sharing pictures taken on Bovina Day that year:

I wrapped up my remarks by wishing the Dairymen a victorious day – and my wish came true.

And here are several entries from this blog that involve baseball:

In August 2010, I shared a newspaper account from the May 29, 1903 Catskill Mountain News about “An Interesting Game at Bovina Center.”

In 2011, Bea Sohni, the former proprietor of Russell’s, shared this photo with me of a Bovina Center player. We have yet to find anyone who recognizes him. Here’s hoping you will:

David Fletcher Hoy was a Bovina native who was the registrar at Cornell University. He also was an avid baseball fan – so much so that Cornell named a ball field for him. That field still exists today:

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Short Video on Bovina's Bicentennial

I've posted on Facebook and You Tube a video I took this morning on McIntosh's Flat where, if things were different, we would have had Bovina's Bicentennial celebration. We have postponed the celebration to July 31/August 1, 2021. 

Here's the link to the video:

I've also inserted the video in this entry.